FOOTBALLERS don’t read newspapers, or so a lot of them tell us, but I am hoping to use my World Cup column to reach out to someone who might be very important to me this summer.
The man in question is Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko, who will be in action for both Bosnia and Herzegovina. His broad shoulders carry the weight of my own personal expectation over the next few weeks, so through the pages of The Bolton News and the infinite expanse that is the internet, I write the following to you, Edin.
Back when I was a child, a World Cup finals meant the odd late night (Mexico 86), maybe a new England shirt (Italia 90), and almost always a full Panini sticker album.
I would spend time between games memorising players’ names, particularly the rude-sounding ones, and plastering swaps around my bedroom. Incidentally, if anyone currently living at Wellstock Lane, Little Hulton, wonders why several Claudio Cannigia stickers from USA 94 adorn the floorboards in the box room, it was because I literally had nowhere else to put them.
Anyway, now I’m all grown up, and after a recent conversation with my wife I now understand it is unacceptable to decorate my bedroom in such a way.
The relative success or failure of this competition depends on how I do in the office sweepstake.
Edin, I will freely admit I have not been your biggest fan in the past. I have seen you score a couple of times against Bolton and not particularly cared for it.
But on drawing Bosnia and Herzegovina out of the little cardboard box – I assume no-one in the office wears a hat – I suddenly see you in a whole new light.
Backed by my renewed confidence Edin, I also placed a couple of pounds on you at the bookmakers – a building where I feel and look more out of place than Vincent Kompany on Match of the Day.
I truly believe you can inspire your country, or at least get them to the final so I can get my two quid back.
I’m not expecting miracles against Argentina mate, but I’d like to think you can bag a few against Nigeria and Iran.
And I promise you, should you finish as top scorer, I will buy you a pint of Preminger, which after a quick Google I have discovered is a leading lager brand in Bosnia.
Yours in World Cup, Marc.
Coincidentally, I don’t know how good Dutch wine is, but considering Spain, Chile and Australia are all in action tonight it might be rude not to crack open a bottle.
I have not been able to drink anything for a week thanks to an allergic reaction that left my hands and feet looking like those of the Singing Detective.
But I’m hoping I’ll be clear to toast what should be a cracking night of football, albeit whilst blogging away on The Bolton News’ website.
I quite fancy Chile to get out of this group and was mightily impressed when they played against Spain not so long ago.
Holland invariably implode at major tournaments but Louis van Gaal will be anxious not to get too many negative headlines ahead of his appointment at Manchester United.
He has played down the chances saying there are “eight to 10 teams” who are better than the 2010 finalists but I think he’ll change his tune if he can salvage a draw in Salvador.
Spain are no longer made up entirely of Real and Barcelona megastars – and I just wonder whether the change in order might affect their normally bankable status.